Kenneth Tynan (Kenneth Peacock Tynan) Biography
(1927–80), (Kenneth Peacock Tynan), Observer, Oh! Calcutta!, Curtains, Tynan Right and Left
English drama critic and theatre producer, born in Birmingham, educated at Magdalen College, Oxford. As one of the most influential drama critics of his time, his reviews for the Observer were notable for their wit and stylistic brilliance. He promoted the early plays of John Osborne, Arnold Wesker, and, most notably, Tom Stoppard. In 1963 Sir Laurence Olivier appointed Tynan literary manager of the newly founded National Theatre. Tynan's production of Oh! Calcutta! (1969), with sketches on erotic themes by himself and various established writers and celebrities of the time, caused a sensation in London and New York for decisively breaking the barriers against nudity on stage. His reviews are collected in Curtains (1961), Tynan Right and Left (1967), A View of the English Stage (1975), and The Sound of Two Hands Clapping (1975). Show People (1980) contains his finest essays, particularly the profiles of leading actors. He also wrote a book about Alec Guinness (1953). His second wife, Kathleen Tynan, wrote The Life of Kenneth Tynan (1987).
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